Retailer sees 32.% growth in digital sales

Digital growth drives strong Holland & Barrett financials – retailer eyes further international expansion

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

Digital growth drives strong Holland & Barrett financials – retailer eyes further international expansion
Health and wellness retailer Holland and Barrett saw digital sales soar by almost a third, as the company reported its 38th consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth.

The UK-headquartered retail giant grew revenues by more than 7%, hitting €795 million (£702m) for the year to 30 September 2018, up from approximately €742m (£655.9m) in the prior 12 months.

Within this, UK and Ireland revenue increased from €596m (£527.3m) to €635.7m (£561.8m) while international sales also rose from €145.5m (£128.6m) to €159.1m (£140.6m).

Holland and Barrett said the strong overall results were helped by performances in key categories with such as its Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements (VMHS) group in the UK and Ireland (which grew by 15.3%) and Clean Beauty (growing 10.2%).

A total of 8% of group revenues also came as the result of new product development and ‘continued innovation’ – including the launch of its Healthbox subscription service, the firm added.

International Expansion

Over the last year, Holland & Barrett worked to establish a new organisational structure​ to focus on maximising long-term growth opportunity in international markets.

The wellness retails says it has also made ‘significant strides’ in building local teams for its international markets, as it continues to selectively expand its international footprint.

Indeed, International revenue now accounts for 20% of revenues for Holland & Barrett – with continued growth seen in each of its businesses in the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden and total international sales up 9.3% over the previous year.

Holland and Barrett noted that while the Netherlands is the largest and most profitable of its international markets, it also remains one of the most competitive.

Earlier this year the company also acquired Halsa for Alla Sverige in Sweden, which provides a platform for further growth in the Scandinavian region. 

A digital future

Earlier this year, Holland & Barrett began what it says will be a ‘transformative journey’​ to meet customers’ health and wellness needs in a digitally dominated future.

The company said technology is dramatically reshaping the retail landscape as consumers increasingly use mobile and other internet devices to communicate, learn, and transact.

As a result, it has focused on improving capabilities in its business covering technology, data, retail standards, merchandising, marketing and supply chain.

Together, Holland and Barrett says the improvements and continues digital focus has resulted in a ‘significant’ digital sales growth during the year of 32.2%.              

“I am pleased by the strong performance in the business this year.  We have just completed our 38th​ consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth, which is a milestone achievement we are very proud of,”​ said Holland & Barrett chief executive Peter Aldis. “I am delighted that we have managed to attract a number of strong hires to the Executive Board over the last 12 months and am pleased by how well the team has come together in a short space of time.”

“Looking forward under our new owners, I am confident that we are well positioned to drive transformation in the face of digital disruption,” ​he said. “We expect that 2019 will also be a year of continued investment in the business to provide our customers with the most trusted and innovative range of health and wellness solutions.”

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